Formula 3 Belgian Grand Prix 2020

For round 7 of the Formula 2 calendar, the paddock heads out to Belgium, one year on since the tragic accident that played out a year ago. Drivers race out on the historic track with their hearts in mind.

Qualifying

Doohan sets the first push lap of the session with a 2:06.505 to which Zendeli instantly beats with a 2:05.393. The first red flag was pulled out with 22 minutes to go since Belov sliding into the wall. The qualifying resumed but a shower of rain appeared over the track, reducing the amount of grip available on the track. Because of that, no driver could set a lap quicker than Zendeli, who set it in the dry conditions, for him to take pole position.

The grid is as follows:
1. Lirim Zendeli
2. Théo Pourchaire
3. Alexander Smolyar
4. Logan Sargeant
5. David Beckmann
6. Richard Verschoor
7. Liam Lawson
8. Oscar Piastri
9. Frederik Vesti
10. Alex Peroni
11. Olli Caldwell
12. Jake Hughes
13. Jack Doohan
14. Matteo Nannini
15. Enzo Fittipaldi
16. Sebastián Fernández
17. Federico Malvestiti
18. Igor Fraga
19. Lukas Dunner
20. Andreas Estner
21. Calan Williams
22. David Schumacher
23. Clément Novalak
24. Roman Staněk
25. Cameron Das
26. Alessio Deledda
27. Pierre-Louis Chovet
28. Dennis Hauger
29. Michael Belov
30. Bent Viscaal

Feature Race

On the formation lap, Hughes didn’t manage to get his car off the line and stalled it, meaning he had to start from the pitlane.

Zendeli keeps off Pourchaire for the lead, keeping it out ahead. Sargeant is already on the rear of Smolyar, trying to make a move up. Doohan was fighting with Piastri for positions, along with Caldwell. Meanwhile, Estner and Novalak came together prior the hill, leaving Novalak with a missing wheel and Estner also having a missing front wing. Estner continues on in the race, but Novalak retires his car. Dunner and Fittipaldi drop positions. Staněk comes into the pits to sort out the front of his car, whilst Fittipaldi has a puncture. Alessio Deledda spins out into the gravel, causing a virtual safety car.

The flag goes green once again for lap five. Pourchaire and Smolyar have a large gap to each other, with Beckmann closely behind the Russian. It didn’t take long for him to make a move into the final chicane, taking 3rd from him. With DRS, he tries to retake it and does so from the German driver. Piastri takes 7th from Verschoor into the final chicane around the outside. Beckmann goes again for 3rd with Smolyar and takes it. Meanwhile, Hughes gets up to 21st from the back of the grid, overtaking Belov.

Zendeli extended his gap to Pourchaire in second to 1.4 seconds, though Théo was 3 seconds ahead of David in third. Piastri was told to pull qualifying laps to try and catch Lawson in 5th. Piastri tried to overtake him and have a bit of contact to go off road together, but Oscar takes the position. Behind, Caldwell takes Verschoor to 8th and now Vesti was seeing a move through the Bus Stop Chicane. A late brake allowed him to pull out ahead and take 9th from the Dutch driver.

Vesti is flying through the grid and now is up to 8th, taking Caldwell at Kemmel straight. He has Lawson in front, who came on the radio to say he was slower than usual. Meanwhile, Chovet, Dunner and Hughes are fighting each other for 21st.

Piastri gives back the postion to Liam Lawson after the overtake off track, but retakes it a few corners later. Vesti now looks to do the same as his teammate. Meanwhile, Sargeant has engine issues, dropping back from Smolyar and now close to his teammate in 6th.

For Jake Hughes, it wasn’t his race after starting from the pitlane as he also retires. On track, Vesti gets past Lawson for 7th, meaning the Prema cars sat 5-6-7, though Sargeant has issues. Just a lap later, Sargeant now drops back to 6th and was within the grasp of his Danish teammate. Caldwell saw a move on Lawson for 8th, but backed out to avoid a collision. Lower down the grid, Malvestiti goes airborne briefly, allowing Williams to catch him.

Nannini went up to 13th, overtaking Alex Peroni, though Peroni doesn’t stop and retakes it, however the Italian driver keeps ahead of the Australian. Schumacher, who switched to Carlin for the remainder of the season, went up to 18th after getting past Fraga.

Sargeant loses out to Vesti as well with Caldwell sitting 2 seconds behind the American after overtaking Lawson. Caldwell moved up to 7th as well just a lap later, meanwhile Fernández is trying to overtake Verschoor for the reverse grid pole.

The feature race results are:
1. Lirim Zendeli
2. Théo Pourchaire
3. David Beckmann
4. Alexander Smolyar
5. Oscar Piastri
6. Frederik Vesti
7. Olli Caldwell
8. Logan Sargeant
9. Liam Lawson
10. Richard Verschoor
11. Sebastián Fernández
12. Jack Doohan
13. Matteo Nannini
14. Alex Peroni
15. Dennis Hauger
16. Calan Williams
17. David Schumacher
18. Federico Malvestiti
19. Igor Fraga
20. Michael Belov
21. Lukas Dunner
22. Pierre-Louis Chovet
23. Bent Viscaal
24. Roman Staněk
25. Cameron Das
26. Enzo Fittipaldi
27. Andreas Estner
28. DNF Clément Novalak
29. DNF Jake Hughes
30. DNF Alessio Deledda

Sprint Race

The sprint race grid is:
1. Richard Verschoor
2. Liam Lawson
3. Logan Sargeant
4. Olli Caldwell
5. Frederik Vesti
6. Oscar Piastri
7. Alexander Smolyar
8. David Beckmann
9. Théo Pourchaire
10. Lirim Zendeli
11. Sebastián Fernández
12. Jack Doohan
13. Matteo Nannini
14. Alex Peroni
15. Dennis Hauger
16. Calan Williams
17. David Schumacher
18. Federico Malvestiti
19. Igor Fraga
20. Michael Belov
21. Lukas Dunner
22. Pierre-Louis Chovet
23. Bent Viscaal
24. Roman Staněk
25. Cameron Das
26. Enzo Fittipaldi
27. Andreas Estner
28. Clément Novalak
29. Jake Hughes
30. Alessio Deledda

In comparison to those around him, Lawson doesn’t get a good start off the line with too much wheel spin and drops back a few positions. Meanwhile, Verschoor briefly loses the lead, but regains it, though is closely followed in the rear wing by Sargeant. It didn’t take long for the American driver to fight for the lead, already attempting it on the Dutch driver, but ended up off track after going wide and so settles for second. Caldwell moves up to third from the start and is pulling one of his best weekends of the season. For Vesti, he was defending from Lawson behind.

Pourchaire manages to get up to 7th, overtaking his teammate Smolyar. Below, Doohan is having a bad race, dropping from 12th after contact with Williams, which Nannini and Williams also follows suit, all three having to pit in with damage. For Hughes, he was making his way up the grid, already up to 22nd within the first two laps.

Verschoor was under immense pressure from Sargeant, who was closing him down. Down into the Kemmel straight, he takes the position from the Dutch driver. Just behind him, Vesti manages to get ahead of Caldwell, but the British driver doesn’t go down without a fight and attempts to get the position back. However, he loses out and ends up dropping a position to Pourchaire and now was within the grasps of Lawson and Smolyar behind. Lower down the grid, Das and Viscaal keep battling each other for 19th, often switching positions, but the Dutch MP driver stays ahead of the American.

Frederik Vesti was a man on a mission, now taking 2nd from Verschoor and now was on the hunt for his teammate at the front. Just behind, Caldwell moves up to 5th again, retaking the position from Lawson. However, Olli ended up losing positions to 8th. A battle for the final points position also was on with Fernández and Zendeli switching, though the Spanish driver kept ahead of the German. Zendeli loses out to Peroni too, dropping him to 12th.

The Virtual Safety Car was announced when Chovet lost his car and went into the barriers. Two laps later, the racing resumed. Peroni had a good restart, moving up to 9th ahead of Beckmann and Fernández. Hauger was moving up the grid taking 13th, pushing Schumacher to 14th. Lower down the grid, Viscaal was up to 17th from Fraga.

Beckmann had caught up to Caldwell and managed to take his position for 8th, dropping the British driver into 9th. Meanwhile at the front, Théo Pourchaire was now up to 3rd after overtaking Verschoor. Lawson, Smolyar and Piastri are all together in a train from 5th. It didn’t take long for the Kiwi driver to make a move on Macau winner Richard Verschoor, taking it on the Kemmel straight. Smolyar took advantage on the attack ahead of him and also managed to pass the Dutch driver, leaving him in 6th with Piastri behind. Meanwhile, Enzo Fittipaldi is up to 13th after overtaking Hauger.

Novalak was making his way up the grid after starting 28th because of an incident in the first race. He managed to take 18th from Fraga and now was on the hunt for 17th. Near the front, Lawson was pushing to reduce the gap to Pourchaire in third, whilst behind, Piastri got ahead of Verschoor, putting him into 6th. Meanwhile in the battle for the last points, Zendeli manages to get up to 11th after overtaking Fernández, whilst Hauger retakes 13th from Fittipaldi. Lukas Dunner also managed to move up to 15th, whilst Fraga does the same for 18th.

Vesti was on the hunt for his second win in Formula 3, pushing to reduce the gap to his teammate in first. The same was happening for Lawson in fourth, trying to close down the difference to third. The Kiwi driver manages to reduce it to the point where he attempted a move on the French driver down the Kemmel straight and takes the position from the rookie. It was not easy for Pourchaire as he also lost fourth to his teammate Smolyar. Unfortunately for Peroni, he was tapped by Caldwell to lose 10th.

Frederik had managed to close the gap by 0.5 seconds in one lap and now was sat within DRS distance of his American teammate. By the following lap, he reduced it from 0.9 seconds to 0.6, but often backed out of a move to conserve tyres. Lower down the grid, Schumacher was on ome of his best races, running up to 14th after taking it from Viscaal. Hughes also goes up to 18th from Fraga and Staněk was up to 20th from Das.

Piastri had been catching on Pourchaire for laps on end and by lap 15, he finally managed to make the move on the French rookie. Through the inside, he was able to take the position from him. However, it all went downhill when he was given a penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when overtaking Verschoor earlier on in the race. On the other hand, Novalak was having a fantastic race, moving up to 15th behind Schumacher after starting 28th on the grid. At the final chicane, Das and Malvestiti came together, causing Das to spin, dropping him to 23rd.

Dennis Hauger, Michael Belov and Federico Malvestiti have all been given penalties post-race. Hauger had contact with Williams during the race, where he was deemed to be responsible for said incident and was given a 5 second penalty, putting him from 18th to 19th. The same was applied to Belov with Malvestiti, though did not finish the race. Malvestiti’s contact across the line gave him a 10 second penalty, dropping him from 20th to 24th.

The sprint race results are:
1. Logan Sargeant
2. Frederik Vesti
3. Liam Lawson
4. Alexander Smolyar
5. Théo Pourchaire
6. PENALISED Oscar Piastri
7. Richard Verschoor
8. Lirim Zendeli
9. David Beckmann
10. Sebastián Fernández
11. Olli Caldwell
12. Enzo Fittipaldi
13. Lukas Dunner
14. David Schumacher
15. Clément Novalak
16. Bent Viscaal
17. Jake Hughes
18. Roman Staněk
19. Dennis Hauger
20. Andreas Estner
21. Alex Peroni
22. Cameron Das
23. Alessio Deledda
24. PENALISED Federico Malvestiti
25. Calan Williams
26. Mateo Nannini
27. Igor Fraga
28. DNF Michael Belov
29. DNF Pierre-Louis Chovet
30. DNF Jack Doohan

We’ll be back on Wednesday for a Race Review, with what we thought of our predictions, highlights, lowlights, underrated drivers and so on. Check on our social medias to see how you can be included in these posts!